Bob Knight made his ESPN television debut last night, appearing on SportsCenter and throughout the night on college basketball coverage. With the conference tournaments in full swing, Knight was all over the airwaves in Bristol again today, and I couldn’t help but notice that he stood out from the crowd.
You remember that old Sesame Street tune? “One of these things is not like the other…” Well, that’s Bob Knight in his sweater. Now I realize that the sweater was sort of his trademark sideline accessory, but is he really going to wear a sweater every night in the studio as well?
Digger Phelps, Jay Bilas, Dick Vitale, Hubert Davis — they’re all wearing suits as are all ESPN personalities. When they aired “Dream Job” a few years back, I thought I remembered Al Jaffe, vice president of talent negotiation and production recruitment, making a big stink about how ESPN anchors and analysts wear suits, period.
I realize Bob Knight was a big-time hire, but did he actually negotiate a “sweater clause” into his contract? And if so, what’s worse? Knight’s stubborn refusal to conform or ESPN’s decision to bend on the rules for the publicity they’re bound to garner by hiring “The General” Robert Montgomery Knight to his first post-coaching gig?
Look, I’m glad that Knight is staying in the college basketball limelight. He’s a candid character and an all-time great coach before you can even mention any of his missteps. But come on, Coach, lose the sweater and get with the program. It’s just hard to take an analyst seriously, even with as much basketball knowledge as Knight, when he’s on TV wearing the same sweater everyone’s grandpa refuses to get rid of.
Ditch the sweater for the better. It’s really as simple as that.
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